259299 Disaster behavioral health and its integration into disaster public health preparedness and response

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 8:30 AM - 8:50 AM

April Naturale, PhD , Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Disaster Technical Assistance Center (SAMHSA DTAC), ICF International, Orleans, MA
Disaster Behavioral Health as a comprehensive discipline including policy, service delivery, evaluation and research is less than thirty years old. While the U.S. government has responded to disasters since 1803, it was the massive disasters in the 1960's that lead to the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration legislation which then became the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979. Medical care by the public health sector has always been a major component of disaster response as death and injury is of primary concern. Disaster behavioral health was included in the national response plan in 1974 when the Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program was initiated, but the American Red Cross did not formally integrate mental health into their training curriculum until 1989. The past decade of catastrophic events and the rise in natural disasters exemplifies the necessity of addressing preparedness and response activities from the public health perspective. Collaborative planning across public health, mental health, substance abuse and emergency services organizations that includes exercising broad scale public education, risk communications and crisis intervention improves the timeliness organization and efficiency of responses to disasters. Public health and behavioral health disciplines continue to work at integrating their missions, planning and response activities into a seamless delivery system to survivors and their communities across the nation as can be observed in the new federal disaster behavioral health Concept of Operations (HHS, 2011) but there is still much learning that needs to take place from history and from each of the response organizations involved.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1-After attending this presentation, participants will be able to explain the importance of integrating disaster behavioral health into public health disaster planning and response efforts. 2-Upon attending this presentation, participants will be able to identify stakeholders and partners for successful disaster behavioral health and public health integration. 3. Participants in this session will be able to identify the federally supported disaster behavioral health services offered to communities in the aftermath of a federally declared disaster and describe at least one example of how these services are integrated into the public health response. 4. Participants will be able to describe two ways in which federal agencies work together to address disaster behavioral health needs from a public health perspective.

Keywords: Disasters, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in the field of disaster behavioral health for over 15 years reponding to approximately 22 events nationally serving as a program developer, trainer and consultant. I served as the project director of the NY September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the BP Oil Spill Distress Helpline and the 9-11 10th anniversary program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.